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. 2019 Apr 1;57(2):139-157.
doi: 10.2486/indhealth.SW-1. Epub 2019 Jan 31.

Working Time Society Consensus Statements: Evidence-based Effects of Shift Work on Physical and Mental Health

Free PMC article

Working Time Society Consensus Statements: Evidence-based Effects of Shift Work on Physical and Mental Health

Claudia R C Moreno et al. Ind Health. .
Free PMC article


Potential effects of shift work on health are probably related to the misalignment between the light-dark cycle and the human activity-rest cycle. Light exposure at night mediates these effects, including social misalignment and leads to an inversion of activity and rest, which, in turn, is linked to changes in behaviours. This article reviews the epidemiological evidence on the association between shift work and health, and possible mechanisms underlying this association. First, evidence from findings of the meta-analyses and systematic reviews published in the last 10 yr is presented. In addition, it reports the larger single-occupation studies and recent large population-based studies of the general workforce. Koch's postulates were used to evaluate the evidence related to the development of disease as a result of exposure to shift work. Finally, we discussed limitations of the multiple pathways that link shift work with specific disorders and the methodological challenges facing shift work research. We concluded that the clearest indications of shift work being the cause of a disease are given when there is a substantial body of evidence from high quality field studies showing an association and there is good evidence from laboratory studies supporting a causal explanation of the link.

Keywords: Circadian system; Health; Nonstandard work hours; Shift work.


Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.
Mechanisms underlying metabolic dysfunction in shift workers.

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